The isopenicillin N synthetase gene (pcbC) was isolated from a genomic library of Penicillium chrysogenum BC39813, a penicillin production strain. The nucleotide sequence, including 555 bp upstream of the translation start site was determined. Various deletions within the pcbC 5'-region were constructed and linked to the Escherichia coli lacZ gene. An Aspergillus nidulans argB strain was transformed with DNA of these constructions. The region essential for promoter function could be localized between positions -307 and -89 by analyzing beta-galactosidase expression of transformants containing a single copy of the corresponding plasmid integrated at the homologous argB locus. A region responsible for regulatory effects concerning nitrogen metabolism was identified by determining beta-galactosidase activities in cell-lysates of transformants cultivated under varying growth conditions. Two major transcription start sites at positions -131 and -132, as well as a further upstream located site at position -397 +/- 1 could be located by primer extension studies employing RNA isolated from P. chrysogenum BC39813.